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Friday, 23 June 2017

How to knit perfect stripes

The problem with knitting stripes in the round ...


Have you found when you're knitting in the round that it's almost impossible to get your stripes to match up perfectly? 

I think the technical term for the problem is jogging. The stripes tend to jog on a little on their own, so that they never perfectly encircle the work. At the root of the problem is the fact that knitting in the round is really knitting in a spiral. You don't stop and join the first to the last stitch at the end of a row. No, you carry on, slipping effortlessly up onto the next row. It's a spiral that you're making, not a series of perfect circles.  This is all fine and dandy if you're knitting with one colour, but it is irksome if you're trying to do neat, clean stripes with a beginning and an end that meet tidily. Perfectly joined stripes never happen naturally, and it's impossible to make the issue disappear completely, but there are a couple of things you can do to mask the problem.


knitting stripes in the round
A stripe that "jogs" out of its proper alignment when knit in the round

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

It's too darn hot ...

To quote Cole Porter: It's Too Darn Hot 😤, and  Ella's lovely, deep velvet voice keeps singing those lines in my head these hot, hot days.

I don't know what's happened to our weather here in London, but every day the mercury seems to push its way north of 30º C, and I'm really struggling not to wilt. Mr B has been recovering nicely from his knee operation last Tuesday, so we've not had to take life too strenuously, which is just as well. If I had to do anything difficult right now I've got a feeling I'd fail miserably.

The other afternoon I was trying to calculate how many stitches I needed to cast-off to shape the neckline of a baby cardigan, and it took me four attempts - four! -before I managed to lose the necessary 8 stitches over 20 rows. I can only plead heat fatigue.

At least, looking on the positive side of all this heat, my Loganberry bush has produced a decent bucketful of fruit. I've picked the better part of 2 kg of berries, and it's still going strong. Because they don't all ripen at once I pick them, and freeze them each day as they're ready. When the weather cools down a bit, I'll make jam from the frozen berries. I'm not going anywhere near a hot stove and a steaming preserving pan in this weather!



Friday, 16 June 2017

How to save dropped stitches in stocking stitch ...

Back in May one of my guests asked if I could show her how to rectify the situation when a stitch gets dropped. The technique varies depending on what type of stitch you're working at the time.

Part A below deals with how to fix a dropped stitch on a knit row, and Part B deals with a purl row fix-up.


A: Knit row fix-up in stocking stitch


So here's what we start off with:

Saving Dropped Stocking Stitches
Dropped Knit Stitch working in Stocking Stitch

1. Slip a stitch-holder - or a safety pin - through the dropped stitch so that it won't unravel any further.


2. Slip stitches, without twisting them, from your right needle to your left needle until you get to the dropped stitch.


Saving Dropped Stocking Stitches
1. Save dropped stitch with a stitch-holder or safety pin
2. Slip stitches to get to the dropped stitch

3. Slip a spare needle that's slightly thinner than the needles you've been working on into the dropped stitch from front to back as shown in the photo below. I like to use a thinner needle than I've been working on as this tends to pull the tension of the repaired stitches slightly tighter. I find this to be helpful as repaired stitches are often a little looser in tension than the stitches around them.

Saving Dropped Stocking Stitches

4. Slip the back bar that corresponds with the dropped stitch onto the inserted needle as well. Make sure that you've got the correct back-bar, because if you use the one above or below by mistake the work will pucker.


Saving Dropped Stocking Stitches
4. Slip needle under back bar that corresponds with the dropped stitch

5. Using the left needle, draw the dropped stitch over the back bar on the inserted needle.

Saving Dropped Stocking Stitches
5. Slip dropped stitch over backbar using left needle
6. Slip the saved stitch back onto the left needle or carry on up the ladder of dropped stitches if there is more than one row of them, repeating steps 2 to 5 until all the dropped stitches have been saved up the row.

Saving Dropped Stocking Stitches
Work up the ladder of dropped stitches until you reach the top

B: Purl row fix-up working stocking stitch


Now I'll be totally honest here: if I find a dropped stitch on a purl row, I simply turn the work around and fix it as though it were a knit stitch. Fixing knit stitches is easier than fixing purl stitches, so why make life more difficult than you need to?

But if, for whatever reason, you want to fix it purl-wise, this is how to do it:

1. Stop your dropped stitch from unravelling any further by securing it with a stitch holder or a safety pin.

2. Slip stitches from the right needle to the left needle until you reach the dropped stitch.



 3. Make sure that the back bar that corresponds with the dropped stitch is sitting in front of the dropped stitch (see photo below). As was the case on our knit row fix-up, if you chose the wrong back bar the work will pucker.

Saving Dropped Stocking Stitches

4. Use a spare needle that is a size or two smaller than you're working on.  Insert the needle into the dropped stitch from the back to the front as shown below.

Saving Dropped Stocking Stitches

Saving Dropped Stocking Stitches

5. Insert the left needle into the dropped stitch from front to back, and draw it over the back bar.

Saving Dropped Stocking Stitches

6. Pull the back bar through the dropped stitch to replace the lost stitch that had previously been there.

7. Place the saved stitch back on the left needle, or work your way up the ladder of dropped stitches if there are rows of dropped stitches until you've saved them all. Between each step of the ladder you will have to slip the saved stitch off the inserted needle in order to move the corresponding back bar to the front it i.e. to the position shown in the photo below step 4 above.  Just slip the saved stitch off, hold it between your forefinger and thumb and lift the back bar over the top of the stitch so that it sits as shown in the photo.

Saving Dropped Stocking Stitches

You may find that the tension along the ladder of saved stitches is a little too loose when you're done. Don't worry too much about this. As you knit on it will automatically go some way towards correcting itself, and if it's still obvious by the time you're done you can wash your knitting and leave it to dry. When it's dry you'll find that the tension has sorted itself out. The process of washing and drying can correct any number of tension anomalies in your work.

All the best for now and happy knitting!

Bonny x

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Stitching for stress-relief ...

Gosh it's been a strange old week. Emi has been away on his school trip to Picardy, leaving me with a lot of time on my hands to get on with other things. Mr B had got quite excited about the idea of a child-free spell when we could wine and dine and carry-on like people with no great amount of responsibility to tie them down. But then his surgeon telephoned to tell him that the clinic could take him in for his knee op yesterday - bang in the middle of our hedonistic plans. He ummed and ahed a bit, and wondered whether they could possibly do it on Friday instead (the child is due back tomorrow evening). But common sense caught up with him and he duly went under the knife yesterday afternoon.

And, happily, it looks like the surgery was a great success.

In the meantime I've spent a lot of time hanging around waiting for the next thing to happen: trying to jolly him along as he anxiously waited for his slot in theatre, sitting quietly with him whilst he slept off the after-affects of the anaesthetic, keeping him company when he had to over-night in the clinic and didn't have anyone else to talk to. And, as is my way, I brought along some cross-stitch to help with the stress of worrying and the boredom of waiting. In situations like this, when I can't concentrate on anything too involved, I find that the simple, colour-guided process of cross-stitch is hugely helpful. *Breathe and stitch. Stitch again. Take another breath*. Repeat from * to * for as long as the agony lasts. I can just about cope with hospitals, and waiting for a loved one in surgery downstairs, if I remember to breathe and stitch ...

So after all that angst, this is where I've got to:


All the best for now,

Bonny x